Have you received a notice about a class action lawsuit and think you may have a claim for damages? If you’re like a lot of people, you’ve probably wondered if it was worth your time and effort. Or you may think you’re better off filing your own personal injury lawsuit.
If you want to know what the advantages and drawbacks are of joining a class action lawsuit this article should help. Then you can decide which type of case will net you the most compensation.
How Is a Class Action Lawsuit Different from an Ordinary Personal Injury Case?
There are two major ways in which a class action lawsuit is different from an ordinary personal injury lawsuit. For one thing, instead of one plaintiff, there are many – possibly even thousands. Every plaintiff is suing the same defendant for the same kind of injury.
The ways in which settlement monies are divided in a class action lawsuits are also different from other injury cases. The two most common ways the money is divided are with a common fund payout or a pro rata distribution.
With a common fund payout, each class member’s share of damages is calculated on a case-by-case basis. For example, someone with a spinal cord injury would receive more than someone with one or two herniated discs.
In a pro rata distribution, everybody in the class receives the same amount. The only one who may get more money are the lead plaintiffs.
Are You Automatically Included in a Class Action Lawsuit?
Sometimes, the members of a class are assumed to be included in the class. The only way they can avoid this is by opting out. Typically, when you receive your notice about the lawsuit, you’ll be given instructions on how to do this.
There are other times when to join the litigation, you’ll contact a class action lawyer and ask to join. As long as you meet the basic criteria, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Now, there is a third option. You can choose to opt out and file your own personal injury lawsuit. You may think you’ll receive more money this way. Of course, we suggest you talk to a lawyer about the class action lawsuit before you decide either way.
What Are the Advantages of Opting Out of a Class Action Lawsuit?
There are some people who would rather file their own personal injury lawsuit than participate in a class action lawsuit. Some people believe that they’ll receive a larger settlement by opting out. This is because, in a class action lawsuit, the settlement is divided among all the plaintiffs.
If you opt out, you may be able to negotiate your own settlement with the defendant. You just need to remember that the defendant may not be willing to settle your case, at least not right away. They’re already spending millions of dollars settling the class action lawsuit.
There is the possibility that you’ll have a stronger case if you opt out. This is because your attorney will focus on your individual case rather than the cases of hundreds or thousands of other plaintiffs.
With an individual lawsuit, you’ll have more control over your case. You can decide whether to settle or go to trial. You can also choose your own legal representation.
Finally, opting out means you are not bound by deadlines set by the court in the class action lawsuit. As long as you meet the statute of limitations filing deadline, you should be fine. This puts a lot less pressure on you to act quickly.
Are There Any Major Disadvantages of Opting Out?
While there may be benefits to opting out, there are disadvantages as well. Opting out of a class action lawsuit may give you more control over your own case, but it also comes with some risks.
Opting out can be expensive. If you opt out, you’ll have to pay your own attorney’s fees and costs associated with pursuing your case.
You may not receive any money if you lose your case after opting out. In a class action lawsuit, everyone receives something because the settlement is divided among all the class members.
By opting out, you surrender your rights to receive compensation when the class action lawsuit settles. You also give up the protections offered by the class action lawsuit, such as the possibility of your attorneys’ fees and costs being covered by the defendants.
Things to Consider Before You Decide to Opt Out of a Class Action Lawsuit
There are a few things to consider before opting out of a class action lawsuit.
First, check with a class action attorney to see if you have a strong case. If not, you may want to stay in the class action lawsuit.
Second, consider the amount of money you could potentially receive if you win your lawsuit. If the amount is small, it may make more sense to remain in the class.
Third, you should think about whether you want to take on the defendant alone. You may have a better chance of winning if you stay in the class action lawsuit.
Are There Other Risks of Opting Out of a Class Action Lawsuit?
In addition to the disadvantages discussed above, there are additional risks you must consider.
First, opting out means that you will be going against the rest of the class. Your personal injury attorney will have to spend more time and money on your case. This could end up being more than if you had just stayed in the class action.
Second, opting out could make it harder for you to find an attorney willing to take on your case. Many attorneys only take cases where they think they can get a healthy settlement. Opting out may signal to them that your case is not as strong as the others in the class.
Finally, you may be barred from joining any future class action lawsuits against the same defendants. Furthermore, if you opt out and lose your individual case, you’ll be responsible for your own attorneys’ fees and costs – which can add up quickly.
You Should Speak with a Skilled Class Action Attorney Before You Make Any Decisions
If you aren’t sure whether you should opt out of a class action lawsuit, a class action attorney can help. We suggest you contact our office at 855-938-0980 and schedule your free, initial consultation.